Lloyd Burns has enjoyed an astonishing rise through the ranks in Wales, progressing from competing in the Welsh Premiership to performing for his country at the World Cup in the space of just 18 months.
After a highly impressive start to his international career though, the Newport Gwent Dragons star has been forced to sit out for three months in order to allow neck troubles to fully clear.
It is doubly cruel to see Burns ruled out at this stage, as with the retirement of hooker and ex-Welsh captain Tom Willis announced last week, he was likely to be given the opportunity to fill some very big shoes.
Instead he will miss the entirety of Wales’ Six Nations campaign, starting with the clash away to Ireland, for which the Welsh are priced at 6/4 to win.
The Irish are clear favourites to come out on top in the meeting at 8/15, and the odds are understandable when taking into account the mass struggles Wales currently have within their squad.
Following a tremendous World Cup campaign last year which had buoyed the nation, and saw them installed as 11/4 second-favourites behind 13/8 shots France, the British outfit has experienced some immense bad luck of late.
Former captain, the aforementioned Willis, was forced to retire last week, and with lock Luke Charteris also set to miss out, and Alun-Wyn Jones doubtful, it is easy to be sceptical again about a side that showed such vast improvements in New Zealand last year.
That said, a tremendous spirit remains within the side, and Huw Bennett and Ken Owens are very capable options to fulfil the hooker position for upcoming Six Nations ties.
With this in mind, it could be worth paying attention to odds on Wales in upcoming matches, with injury troubles likely to see them kick off at greater odds than we would usually expect.